ANALYSTS have weighed in on IT spending in 2009 and the results do not look too bright. The global recession is going to cause US$300billion (S$430billion) in IT spending to vanish in the next four years. Plus, chief information officers (CIOs) are going to bargain hunt, shifting the tech landscape.
Ultraportables give more power to the cloud
Cloud computing - the concept of storing data over the Internet on third-party servers and caching them temporarily on personal computers or handheld devices - will become mainstream next year due to the increasing popularity of mobile devices like netbooks and smartphones.
The limited processing power and storage capacity of such devices will make consumers depend more on Web-based services and applications.
However, businesses will remain wary of such cloud services due to high-profile outages on Amazon's S3 online storage service and Google's Gmail platforms earlier this year. 'Enterprises are right to be cautious about relying on such suppliers for anything resembling a mission critical application or service,' says research firm Ovum.
Asia Pacific less hard hit
Last month, research firm IDC estimated that more than US$300 billion in global tech revenues will dry up by 2012 due to the recession.
The hardest-hit markets will be the United States and Europe.
The Asia Pacific market remains cushioned from deep impact.
However, IDC has revised its IT revenue growth forecast for Asia Pacific to 5.8 per cent from 9.5 per cent following the collapse of Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch in September.
Even then, the market is expected to be worth US$196 billion next year, buoyed by public sector spending.
Software firms feel the pinch
Gartner has lowered its worldwide enterprise software spending forecast for this year to US$229 billion from its earlier estimate of US$231 billion.
This has in turn affected its 2009 forecast.
The latest estimate will put next year's software spending growth at 6.6 per cent to US$244 billion, down from its previous forecast of 9.5 per cent growth and US$253 billion.
The reasons cited were the global recession and exchange-rate shifts that have devalued the euro and British pound against the US dollar.
Service-oriented architecture related projects are expected to be delayed while open source software, virtualisation and unified messaging technologies are among the least affected.
Renewed interest in data centre services
The recession will see many companies renewing or beginning their data centre outsourcing contracts.
The main driver being cost cutting, said IDC.
Using a third-party service provider also gives companies 'access to many cutting-edge technologies like virtualisation, WAN (wide area network) optimisation and disaster recovery,' the research firm says.
At present, only 23 per cent of organisations in Asia Pacific use an external data centre service provider, 'hence, the large untapped market'.
Windows 7 beta to launch
The beta version of the Windows 7 operating system is expected in early 2009 - only two years after the launch of Windows Vista.
Meanwhile, the older Windows XP has been given a good seven-year run, and has remained the king of the hill. US-based analyst firm Net Applications on Dec 1 said XP powered over 66 per cent of all computers that went online in November, while Vista's market share was estimated at only 20 per cent.
XP's popularity has compelled Microsoft to delay its demise again and again.
Last week, the firm extended the deadline - this time, by four months - for distributors and small computer builders to obtain new XP Professional licences. The new deadline is May 30, 2009.
This news was followed by its move in October to add six months (with the new deadline set at July 31, 2009) to the sale of XP Professional to large computer makers like Dell and Hewlett-Packard.
This story was first published in The Straits Times Digital Life on 31 December 2008.
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